Q: As an employer, how can we prepare for the increased Right to Work legislation?
A: The new Immigration Bill 2015-2016 has imposed additional responsibilities on employers to ensure that all employees have a 'legal right to work' in the UK.
The proposed Bill makes penalties for employing an illegal migrant more severe. However, as with the current immigration rules, employers will not be in breach of the new Bill’s powers if they can show that they have conducted the necessary checks. Employers need to carry out the following:
- Conduct right to work checks on all potential employees. Ensure you see original documents, not photocopies; check they are valid with the worker present; make and keep copies, recording the date of the check. Employers who know or suspect that an employee does not have permission to work in the UK may face up to five years’ imprisonment.
- Carry out a mock audit. Checks need to be made before employees’ start work, and shortly before an employee’s permission to work in the UK is about to expire.
- Keep a record of visa expiry dates to ensure you’re not breaching illegal working laws by employing a worker who no longer has permission to work in the UK. Under the new scheme, employers will be informed when their employees’ visas expire so they will know when they are breaking the law. There will be no defence available for employers who continue to employ a person after being informed that a visa has expired.
For legal help and advice concerning Right to Work, contact our Warrington office on 01925 230000